Commonly asked questions and concerns during pregnancy
Can I have caffeine or coffee?
In 1980 the federal government advised pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake. However, no evidence has emerged to show it is harmful during pregnancy for the mother or baby. We recommend limiting coffee to 1-2 cups per day, and as always one should use common sense in their consumption of coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate.
I have a cold, cough, or fever. What can I take?
In general, colds and upper respiratory tract infections are not harmful to the fetus but are very uncomfortable for the mother. We recommend increasing fluid intake and rest. Tylenol, Acetaminophen, or Extra Strength Tylenol can be used if needed. Call if your fever is not decreasing with Tylenol. Other cold medications that are safe include Robitussin, cough drops, Benadryl, saline non medicated nose sprays, Dimetapp. Do not use Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, or Aspirin unless directed by your obstetrician. If you have diarrhea, Imodium is safe in pregnancy.
Can I get dental work done during my pregnancy?
Dental procedures are safe during pregnancy. Local anesthesia that is given for some procedures is also safe. If you need antibiotics for a dental procedure, please discuss your pregnancy with your dentist. Most antibiotics used by dentists are safe in pregnancy. Some dentists require a note from the obstetrician to treat a patient, and we would be happy to provide this for you.
My feet or legs are swollen, is this normal?
Many pregnant women will get swelling in their feet and/or legs at some points during their pregnancy. This can also occasionally happen in the hands. It is not related to your salt intake. Elevation of your feet is the best treatment, and support stockings may also be helpful. If swelling is severe or if one calf is more swollen than the other please make an appointment to be seen by your obstetrician.
Can I exercise during pregnancy?
We highly encourage patients to continue exercise programs during their pregnancy, as it helps to maintain good health. If you are having problems such as vaginal bleeding, high blood pressure, or preterm labor, please do not exercise until discussing your exercise plan with your doctor. Pregnancy is not a good time to start a new rigorous workout routine. If you wish to start exercising during your pregnancy, we recommend walking for 30 minutes at a moderate pace 3-5 times a week. There are also specialized prenatal exercise classes for yoga that are great to help with pregnancy aches and pains.
Can I color my hair?
Hair coloring and perms are safe in pregnancy.
What can I take for heartburn?
Heartburn is extremely common in pregnancy and can be quite bothersome to the expectant mother. Tums (which is also a good source calcium) or liquid antacids such as Maalox or Mylanta can be used safely in pregnancy. If symptoms persist, other options include Tagamet, Zantac, Prilosec and Prevacid.
What can I use to treat hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are a common problem during pregnancy. Tucks pads (keep in refrigerator for improved comfort) and Preparation H can be used for symptom relief. Other options include Proctofoam, Dibucaine ointment, or Dermoplast spray.
What can I use for constipation?
We recommend a good diet for the best prevention, which includes fruits, vegetables, and high fiber. Metamucil is safe and effective. If you think you need a laxative, Milk of Magnesia is safe. Over the counter stool softeners such as Colace are also safe.
What medications can I take in pregnancy?
Many of the common over the counter medications are safe in pregnancy. For specific conditions, see questions on this page for recommended medications. If you have questions about medications you have taken prior to pregnancy, or a medication not listed on this page, please ask your obstetrician.
Do I need to limit my salt intake to avoid high blood pressure?
Pregnant women do not need to limit their salt intake. In general, high blood pressure and edema/swelling in pregnancy are not related to salt intake. As always, we recommend using common sense in the amount of salt intake you have on a regular basis.
Can I work throughout my pregnancy?
During a normal pregnancy, women can work right up until they go in to labor without restrictions. If you have certain medical and pregnancy conditions, we may recommend that you stop working prior to your delivery. If you have specific concerns about the strenuous nature of your job and how it could affect your pregnancy; please discuss with your physician at your next appointment.
Can I be induced?
Some women do need early delivery during their pregnancy due to certain medical conditions, but this is individualized based on the condition and risk to mother and baby. Some women ask to be induced electively during their pregnancy. An elective induction without a medical reason cannot be performed before 39 weeks after gestation (a week before the due date). Elective inductions can come with a higher risk of a cesarean section based on your personal history and cervical exam. If a patient desires a possible elective induction, this can be discussed with your doctor at your prenatal visits.
When will my repeat cesarean section be performed?
We perform routine repeat cesarean sections starting at 39 weeks gestation, one week before your due date. There are a few exceptions where it might be done earlier due to the type of cesarean you had performed in the past, but this will be determined by your physician.
I had a previous cesearean section, do I have to have another one in this pregnancy?
If you have had only one cesarean section, it may be a very good option to have a trial of labor for a vaginal delivery in this pregnancy. Certain conditions may make that unsafe depending on the type of cesarean you had in the past and the reason for the cesarean. This will be discussed between you and your physician at your prenatal visits. We encourage vaginal delivery whenever we feel it is safe for you and your baby.
Who will deliver my baby?
We are a group of physicians who work as a team to provide high quality care to our patients. We cover Tripoint Medical Center Labor and Delivery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be delivered by one of the six physicians in our highly trained group. For this reason, we offer our obstetrical patients the opportunity to meet all of the physicians in our practice during their prenatal care by having an appointment with each of us throughout your pregnancy.
For additional information visit www.acog.org/Patients